By Steven Zavala
Students in Professor Bonnie Martin’s HIST 4361, African-American History, class viewed and discussed “Dreams Come True: A Living History,” a documentary bridging San Antonio to Civil Rights, directed and produced by business leader and activist Laura Thompson.
Thompson, the national chair president and San Antonio chapter president of Sistas in Business, was invited in celebration of Black History Month Feb. 21, which was open to students and employees.
Throughout her career, Thompson has developed curriculum and youth programs from elementary to high school, promoting literacy, youth events and advertising camps geared toward teenage girls.
Thompson is a graduate of Highlands High School on the Southeast Side and author of her book “Beneath the Mask” and multiple poems.
The documentary features San Antonio’s distinguished leaders — from neighborhoods to city hall — and includes testimonials, pictures of the city’s MLK march, highlighting San Antonio’s commitment to memorialize the ‘movement’ of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights.
“I look forward to bringing future events like this one to A&M-San Antonio,” Martin said.
Senior education major Brandy Shelton said, “I’m just one person, what can I do”?
Thompson encouraged the students to be creators and contributors, sharing responsibility for building communities.
Thompson’s documentary coupled San Antonio with the national civil rights crusade.
“Showing our documentary to a new audience is always met with some hesitation, because this film is so dear to my heart,” Thompson said.
The documentary “started with interviewing and asking people to participate, but sat on the back burner until 2011,” Thompson said.
Filming for the documentary began in 2005. Interns from the International Academy of Design and Technology began editing in early June 2011, and the film was completed mid-December 2011.
Timing could not have been better, Thompson said, because 2012 is San Antonio’s 25th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial City-County Commission, which was established on April 3, 1986, by official act of the San Antonio City Council through City Resolution No. 86-15-19 under the leadership of former Mayor Henry Cisneros.
In the documentary, Rev. Dr. Raymond “R.A.” Callies Sr., founder of the San Antonio MLK Jr. March says, “Machines may take the jobs once powered by black muscles, but machines can never take away the muscle above the neck i.e the human brain.”
According to the Sistas in Business website, Thompson leads “a powerful business resource for African-American women through networking and training coast to coast.”
Founded in 1998, the Laura Thompson Agency focuses on changing the exterior and internal perceptions of the African-American community, while assisting in business, marketing, consulting, branding and email broadcast advertising.
Through their power series, SIB provides national and guest speakers every first Friday for four consecutive months.